An Armenian army conscript has been arrested after killing one fellow soldier and seriously wounding another in unclear circumstances.
The deadly shooting took place on Wednesday at an army unit stationed in the northern Tavush province.
Military investigators said that the shooter, Davit Khachatrian, was taken into custody immediately after the incident. They refused to comment on reasons why Khachatrian opened fire at his comrades, identified as Luks Stepanian and Hrach Sargsian.
Stepanian died on the spot, while Sargsian was hospitalized with a severe gunshot wound to his head. He remained in critical condition on Thursday after undergoing surgery at a military hospital in Yerevan.
Some sources claimed that the shooting followed a dispute between the soldiers. However, Sargsian’s relatives living in a village in southern Armavir province cited military officials as telling a different story.
“They say that they joked and played with each other, and the shots were fired inadvertently,” Taron Sargsian, the wounded soldier’s uncle, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said his nephew was struck by the same bullet that killed the other soldier.
“I talked to him by phone the day before the incident, he was fine,” Hrach Sargsian’s grandfather said for his part.
According to the relatives, Sargsian’s parents working in Russia rushed back to Armenia after hearing news of the shooting. Hrach lived them until returning home in early 2012 to serve in the Armenian army.
“The doctors are giving us hope that his life will be saved,” said the 19-year-old’s uncle.